resting entirely undisturbed, excepting now and then a bomb shot would come from Round Top
, fired at some of us moving about, and got in view of the batteries, in mere wantoness, as the chance of hitting was very small, and they did not care to waste a shell on one, two or three.
The enemy appeared to be waiting the assault to follow the storm of shot and shell.
Of course there was not a soldier in either army of any experience who did not know that an assault was to be made somewhere, and the shells, as they bursted over the enemy's lines, gave of themselves a pretty sure indication to them that it was on their centre that the shock was to be given.
Not only was that a sign, but undoubtedly they could see our preparations from every prominent signal station from Round Top
on their left to the Cemetery
on their right, and disposed their forces, stationed their reserves, and made all other needful preparations to meet the shock, and to meet it at the exact portion of their lines it was made.
The forces of the enemy were on a crest overlooking our position, the hill, known as Cemetery Hill
, declining to their rear, so that they could move their troops without being seen by us, whilst our movements were plainly visible for fully a mile distant on an average along our entire front; and down the main roads for a mile further all between the armies was swept by artillery.
I sat on my horse watching the shells passing over me, now bursting over artilllery, now over the enemy's lines and then suddenly against Round Top
, until it became monotonous, as the results could but be conjectured.
But finally, during a temporary lull in the artillery fire, my attention was attracted by seeing a number of my command, among them General Wofford
on horseback, looking intently down our lines towards Gettysburg
, and I rode in that direction and saw the advancing Confederates moving to the charge on the enemy's centre.
The sight was magnificent, it was grand, as it stirred all the highest and deepest emotions of our nature, of admiration for the splendid bearing and courage of our Southern men, mingled with a heartfelt prayer for the most fortunate results; but of reasonable hope of real success, based on what one could see, there was none.
I had had some such feelings aroused many years before, during the siege of Vera Cruz
, when looking at a number of strong ships, well manned and equipped, having on board our sick, our ammunition and supplies and our soldiers' wives, being driven by the irresistible force of a norther against a sandy shore.
Their destruction as ships was. a foregone conclusion, and the only thing we who saw them coming